When your claim for disability benefits has been denied, you may have many concerns about what you expect at your hearing. You will have to discuss your job and disability. Then, the judge would make a decision about your benefits (or lack thereof).
The more you understand what to expect from the process and how your case may be handled, the more confident you may feel as you go into your disability hearing.
Discussion Surrounding Your Job Training and Experience
The first thing you should be prepared for in your disability hearing is the discussion surrounding your job training and experience. You will need to be prepared to answer questions regarding your employment history, your current employment status, and how your disability impacts your ability to continue working. You can expect the judge to ask questions regarding:
- Your current job status
- Whether you have attempted to work since your disability set in
- What the outcome was if you attempted to work
- What your job responsibilities were prior to your disability and after
- Your dates of employment
- The reasons why you may have been dismissed from your position
You can expect to need to discuss your employment history going back as far as 15 years from the initial date of your employment. Document the dates of your employment, your job responsibilities, and other important information as they relate to your disabling condition.
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Going Over the Impact of Your Disability
Next, you can expect to go over how your disability has affected your life. You should be prepared to discuss with the judge:
- How you are currently providing for and caring for yourself
- The date of your initial diagnosis
- How your diagnosis may have progressed over the years (or how you will expect it to)
Some questions you would expect to be asked regarding the impact of your disability on your life include:
- Are you capable of cleaning your own home?
- Are you capable of cooking your own meals?
- Do you need help shopping for yourself?
- How has your disability affected your ability to work over the years?
- How has your disability affected your ability to complete daily living tasks?
- How long can you stand?
- How long can you walk?
- Can you climb?
- Can you bend over?
- Can you move around?
- How long can you sit down?
- How much can you lift?
- Can you stoop down?
- How much can you carry?
- How often can you lift?
- Do you need to take extra bathroom breaks? If so, why?
- Do you need any other reasonable accommodations to do your job?
Will Mental Health Issues Be Discussed?
The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) could consider how your disability has affected your mental health and how your mental health has affected your ability to earn a living. Some common questions related to your emotional and behavioral health you might face include:
- Are your mental health issues affecting your ability to get along with your coworkers?
- Are your mental health issues affecting your ability to work with your supervisor or other employees?
- How often do you need to take breaks because of mental health issues?
- Do you have memory or concentration issues?
- Do you have anger or emotional issues?
- Do you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse?
- Have you used drugs or alcohol at work?
Understanding that these questions are important to the judge’s review of your case can help you be more prepared to answer them truthfully. Although they may be uncomfortable, the judge needs to ascertain whether you are entitled to disability benefits under the law.
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What to Do If You don’t Win Your ALJ Hearing
If you do not win your hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, you could move forward with an Appeals Council review. The Appeals Council will review your case or return it back to an Administrative Law Judge for further review, depending on the circumstances. If your Appeals Council review does not produce a favorable outcome, you could move forward with a federal court review, instead.
Get Help From a Social Security Disability Lawyer
When your claim for disability benefits has been denied but you do not know where to turn for help for your appeal, reach out to our team. Hiring Bader Scott Injury Lawyers Social Security Disability lawyers can positively affect your case. Rely on us to handle the details while you relax and heal.
Our firm is proud to offer no-cost, risk-free consultations to individuals dealing with disabilities. Claim your consultation when you call our office or complete our quick contact form. We cannot help until we have an idea of your situation.